New York Today: Finding a Place to Disconnect

Tuesday: Phone-free spots in the city, more snow, and Brain Awareness Week.

Comments: 14

  1. I am not a paragon of disconnection but there are things I have chosen that help. I have an iPhone but no data plan. I can connect by WiFi (unfortunately) almost everywhere. I pay 3 dollars a month. I made a rule not to use my phone on walks or while socializing. The phone is more than a tool for me but it is way less than a necessity.

  2. "President Trump has claimed that properties bearing his name are more valuable than those of his competitors. New studies show otherwise."

    I do not care whether the President's properties are more valuable than other properties. I care very much, however, that the President is talking about his properties at all. The man is incorrigibly vulgar. But then, even from the few news videos I was able to bear to watch during the campaign season, his supporters also are vulgar. Their T-shirts said it all.

    Now, of course, I eschew all moving images of the President and his people. Too revolting.

  3. Alexandra--
    You must be very young be aware of not being connected while visiting landmark. It is certainly a generational thing. Many of we seniors cannot even begin to imagine what would be the attraction to being perpetually connected? We appreciate the convenience of being able to reach loved ones without locating a phone booth. Or the safety of having a phone in an emergency. We do appreciate technology.

    But we also like being detached and alone with our thoughts. It is often an intrusion to be contacted for no other reason then for small talk. We just do not understand the attraction of receiving messages asking "How R U". If someone cares about our well being, we would prefer to meet to chat, possibly during lunch or at a ball game.

    It is definitely generational. We seniors are not afraid of technology---we simply prefer privacy and human contact. To each their own.

  4. I loved your column today, Alexandra: “power down your phone.” It’s calming, soothing, and well written. It’s especially appropriate today as we’re wondering if we’ll lose our power yet again in today’s storm. Good thing we have an oil lamp and hardcover books.

  5. It is no accident that Eldridge Street Synagogue is a sublime oasis ... its brilliant restoration carried out by WSA and completed in 2007 ensured that its heart & soul would resonate to all who wish to listen & feel. Past, present, future. This is what architects at their finest are capable of achieving ... and it is heartening to see that recognized here today.

  6. “Brain Awareness Week” in the “And Finally” section sounds like fun! Like a week-long version of “Cranium Command” from Disney World. (Could they use an ad jingle?)

    Tune of “If I Only Had A Brain” (a short-attention-span quick version)

    You could try the local college
    Where gathering much knowledge
    Will also entertain.
    With our clear explanations
    We’ll live up to expectations
    As you learn about the brain

    Oh yes,
    You’ll learn that stress
    Can cause a lot of harm
    You’ll discern a lot that might cause much alarm
    But we’ll present it with such charm

    When we emphasize reliance
    On modern neuroscience,
    Your int’rest will not wane.
    To explore your mind’s potential
    Reservations are essential
    Come learn all about the brain.

  7. Have to say, Freddie, the rhyming in this one was outstanding!!

  8. Alexandra, the description of your experience in the synagogue transported me to a peaceful place. Wonderful! I think you should write a novel...take me there!

  9. You know, you can actually unplug and sit and enjoy a church/synagogue/mosque every week - free!

  10. Not completely unplugging, but would add output in Brooklyn with a no photo and video policy that makes for an incredible experience of dancing and world class electronic music.

  11. How convenient that Gov. Cuomo is finally recognizing that New York City public housing deserves to be declared a state of emergency ... in a re-election year. Just saying.

  12. I recently was without my phone for two days while it sat in a bag of enriched rice, drying out after a quick dip in the loo. I felt so young and free!

  13. To state the obvious: NYC is an archipelago. We have a ton of water around us. There has been 50 years of water cleanup that few newcomer learn about. Meanwhile, the City built dozens of boat launches and you can hop on a kayak or paddle board from any of them. Instantly it's quiet, peaceful and there's no WiFi. Not to mention, the water and sky are so much more beautiful than a phone screen. It's the most ubiquitous solution to our urban anxiety and we don't see it.

  14. I'm a germ-phobe so started leaving my phone at home during the flu epidemic to avoid having to sanitize it. It was liberating! Now I leave it at home when I take my daily walk. (I also wrote a book on contemplative monasteries that make food so I'm pretty far along the spectrum of loving solitude and silence.)